NHM Madhya Pradesh Gandhi Medical College Bhopal and ECHO India Launch Capacity Building Program to Address Thalassemia

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India – Business Wire India

National Health Mission (NHM) Madhya Pradesh and Gandhi Medical College in collaboration with ECHO India, launched a capacity-building program focused on the prevention and control of Beta Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathies. An initial batch of 50 doctors from various districts of Madhya Pradesh attended the first session of their capacity-building program, which is aimed at improving their skills in the screening, early diagnosis, treatment, and overall management of genetic blood disorders.

There is a need for awareness and screening of this disease, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, so that it can be identified, and possible treatment can be initiated in a timely manner. It is also necessary to improve the care of patients with Beta Thalassemia by utilizing the latest medical and scientific techniques. Under the National Health Mission's Hemoglobinopathy Mission, a special action plan has been developed and implemented for genetic blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia, and Hemophilia.

Sickle Cell Anemia is prevalent in the tribal districts of the state, and Thalassemia is also widespread in other districts of Madhya Pradesh. Both diseases result in a decrease in the patient's lifespan due to blood deficiency and associated complications. Screening for Sickle Cell Anemia is already being conducted in the tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh.

The "World Thalassemia Day" is celebrated annually on May 8. This year, in commemoration of National Thalassemia Day, special training modules have been prepared by experts. Madhya Pradesh will be the first to implement these modules in collaboration with ECHO India, providing training to specialists and doctors working in health institutions across districts.

A well-equipped telementoring hub has been established at the Gandhi Medical College (GMC) Bhopal, which will be used to conduct a wide range of capacity-building initiatives as part of this program. Post Graduate Institute of Child Health (PGICH) Noida serves as the national hub for this three-years long program, with NHM MP as one of the three regional knowledge hubs. The other two knowledge hubs are Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). The Indian Academy of Pediatrics serves as the academic partner, while BMS and the University of New Mexico are the philanthropic partners for this collaborative program.

Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary, Honorable Minister of Public Health & Family Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh, said, “Timely diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders like Beta Thalassemia is critically important. Early identification allows doctors and healthcare workers to intervene swiftly, providing patients with the necessary support and treatment options to enhance their quality of life. Through this initiative, healthcare professionals across Madhya Pradesh will be mentored in offering prompt and efficient care to those fighting Hemoglobinopathies, empowering them and their families to navigate the challenges that come with these life-threatening diseases.”

Shri Vishvas Sarang, Honourable Minister of Medical Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh, said, “By leveraging technology, capacity-building initiatives like those facilitated by ECHO India, have the potential to upskill healthcare workers by ensuring Continuous Medical Education (CME) and knowledge-sharing. I believe this initiative will empower doctors, nurses, Medical Officers, and all cadres of health professionals to adapt to the evolving needs of Thalassemia patients while delivering quality care, especially in regions that bear a high burden of genetic blood disorders.”

Addressing the participants, Ms. Priyanka Das (IAS), Mission Director, NHM Madhya Pradesh, said, “Through a range of training sessions, interactive workshops, and engaging webinars, this program aims to empower healthcare workers with extensive knowledge and insights from experts in the field. These learnings will play a pivotal role in raising awareness among those impacted by Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathies as well as their families and the public, fostering a more informed society at large.”

Dr. Sunil Anand, Executive Director of ECHO India, said, “While ECHO India continues to further expand its work in Madhya Pradesh, we are successfully running capacity-building initiatives in Tuberculosis and Long-COVID Syndrome. As we now launch this nationwide program on the prevention and control of Beta Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathies, I would like to express my gratitude to NHM Madhya Pradesh and all other partners, including PGICH Noida, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and the Indian Academy of Pediatrics for their collaboration. I also thank BMS and the University of New Mexico for their continued support in launching and running this program.”

About ECHO India

ECHO India is a non-profit trust that was founded in 2008 with a mission to promote equity in healthcare and education. The organization achieves this goal by enabling capacity-building programs for healthcare professionals and educators. ECHO India has joined forces with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and 28 state National Health Missions (NHMs), municipal corporations, nursing councils, and esteemed medical institutions across India. By collaborating with these entities, ECHO India is making significant strides toward strengthening the country's healthcare system.

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(Left to Right) - Hon’ble Ministers Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary (Health) & Vishwas Sarang (Medical Education), Government of Madhya Pradesh, inaugurate ECHO Hub at GMC

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